Basharat Bashir

Art Mediums

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By: Ghazala Fatima

Art has remained an integral part of human history. Our urge to express our thoughts, emotions and ideas has helped us to devisean array of artistic mediums throughout the ages.From time-to-time humans developed new methods and techniques to boost their artwork and make it last longer. From the early pigments used in cave paintings to sophisticated computer programmes humans have expressed themselves in a way that reflects the technological advancements of the era.

Apart from creativity an artwork also demands a specific medium that would resonate its connotation and make it persistent.Artists want their work to overcome degeneration and remain firm in all its elegance, therefore mostly in painting and drawing a long lasting and easy to access medium is preferred. In today’s world there are a number of mediums available for the artist that satisfy the demands for their artwork.

Different media stayed popular across different periods of time. Early on in premodern society, the most common artistic expression medium was Tempera.With its quick-drying ingredients and long-lasting pigmentsit was used by artists for many centuries. Even though some examples of tempera paintings have been dated as far back as the 1st century AD, but it was famously a popular medium used by artists from the 12thcentury until the 15th century that included some artworks of renaissance period.

The popularity of Tempera was overshadowed by the emergence of oil paints. Oil paints became the traditional artistic medium in Europe in the 15th centuryand was eventually adopted by artists around the globe. With its slow drying property Oil paint allowed artist to execute detailed and realistic artworks which were difficult to accomplish in Tempera. It allowed artists to easily change their paintings by adding more layers to the canvas.Oil paints proved very advantageous to artists, giving them the more freedom and relaxation in executing a painting.

With the beginning of modern art movements, the priorities of artistic medium changed, and the properties of oil paints could not fulfil it. Movements like Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art could not afford the slow drying of oil paints, they needed a much faster medium which could offer flexibility of time, texture and technique. It was the time for acrylics to make its way into the art scene. Although oil kept its own charm and some artists preferred oil over acrylics but for most artists acrylic paint became the medium of expression. Acrylics offered possibility for the mixing of media, the creation of various textures and consistencies (by adding sand, water, or other materials to the paint), the possibility of transparent or opaque colours, as well as the ability for artists to work much more quickly thanks to the paint’s significantly accelerated drying time. In essence, the introduction of acrylic painting in the modern art world unleashed an entirely new wave of creativity and possibilities that continues to have a significant impact on various contemporary artistic forms and movements.

The introduction of synthetic paint is dated back in 1930s and after that Leonard Bocour and Sam Golden were the first to offer an early version of acrylic paints. Although instead of water the paints were spirit based.Manywell-known artists of that time experimented with this new painting medium, including Mark Rothko, Kenneth Noland, Barrett Newman, and Roy Lichtenstien. It was in 1950s whenRöhm and his business partner Otto Haas introduced the first acrylic emulsion specifically designed for paint, which has become the cornerstone for all contemporary artists’ acrylic emulsions. By 1955, the first commercially available water based acrylic paints were placed on the market.

Acrylic colorprovided an ideal medium for modern and contemporary art formsThe flexibility and versatility offered by it surpasses all other media.Many famous artists including Andy Warhol, Robert Motherwell, Larry Poons, and Helen Frankenthaler, and British artists like Bridget Riley and David Hockney were attracted to the acrylic medium for limitless possibilities and flexibility afforded by these paints.

Along with acrylics and oil watercolor is yet another medium of painting with huge popularity. Although Watercolor offers less chance of correcting a mistake yet with its luminosity it has remained a preferred medium for creating landscape paintings. Working with watercolor is tricky and it requires a great deal of skill and patience to accomplish a desired result in this medium.

Charcoal is yet another medium of expression which artists used from centuries. Charcoal provides unique possibilities in creating bold strokes and flexible textures. Being one of the mostly readily available medium charcoal is used by artists and art students around the globe. Charcoal sticks can be made by binding organic powder with a waxy substance. Charcoal can easily be erased, and to extend the life of a charcoal drawing artists used fixatives available in the market.

There are numerous other media of art including Pastels, Graphite pencils, color pencils, chalk, pen and ink and many more and each offers a diverse possibility. Acrylic painting is a relatively contemporary form of artistic expression when compared to oil and watercolour. Acrylic painting has only recently begun to take off during the past century, although the history of oil painting dates back much further in Western history and the origins of watercolour may be found in the Renaissance. Acrylic offers a unique set of qualities and properties, similar to how watercolour and oil do, but most notably its adaptability, immediacy, and durability. Acrylic paintings are popular among artists due to its vivid primary colours, precise brushstrokes, and ability to be applied to a variety of surfaces and combined with a wide range of different media. Overall, acrylic painting gives the artist access to a variety of methods and a multitude of creative options.



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